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How to Find a GIS Job in 2011/2012. University at Buffalo – GEO481/506 3 November, 2011 Steven W. Russell Jr. swr@buffalo.edu. My Background. 4 rd year PhD student at UB Dissertation on urban impervious surface research using LiDAR Masters in Geography, UB May ‘08

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How to Find a GIS Job in 2011/2012


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    1. How to Find a GIS Job in 2011/2012 University at Buffalo – GEO481/5063 November, 2011Steven W. Russell Jr.swr@buffalo.edu

    2. My Background • 4rd year PhD student at UB • Dissertation on urban impervious surface research using LiDAR • Masters in Geography, UB May ‘08 • Sr. IT Engineer with Erie County DEP since 9/10/01 • I am the GIS Manager, GIS Tech, GIS Analyst and IT guy. • Built Divisions GIS from scratch • Web GIS (ArcGIS Server, Geocortex), ArcSDE (SQL Server), Mobile GIS, GPS/RTK, LiDAR, IT projects • Web design, SharePoint Design, Programming • Civil/Environmental Engineer (B.S. UB ’98) • UB M.Eng Environmental Engineering ‘99 • Water/Groundwater Modeling • Extensive CAD experience in Microstation and AutoCAD • Water Treatment Plant Design • Land Development Engineering Background

    3. Books, DVD’s and Comics to be aware of… • What They Didn’t Teach you in Graduate School (Book) – Richlin and Upham • Presentation Zen (Book & DVD) – Garr Reynolds • Naturally Obsessed – The Making of a Scientist (DVD) (available via streaming?)

    4. Piled Higher and Deeper

    5. Future Events • Upcoming Events: • NEARC - November 13-16, 2011 Saratoga Springs, NY • WNY GIS User Group Meeting - December 2011, Details TBA • AAG Conference - February 24-28, 2012 New York City • ASPRS Conference (Remote Sensing) - March 19-23, 2012 Sacramento, CA • GISSIG - April 2012 Rochester, NY • ESRI UC - July 23-27, 2012 San Diego, CA (Abstracts Due by Nov. 4) • FOSS4G – Bejing 2012

    6. Agenda GIS Job Outlook What type of GIS jobs are there? Where to look? Certifications Do’s and Don'ts I’ve got my Bachelors/Masters, now what? Networking Cover letter Resumes Unpaid Internships Class Internships Advice Final Comments/Conclusion

    7. How to Find a GIS Job GIS Job outlook: WNY New York State East Coast West Coast

    8. How to Find a GIS Job What type of GIS jobs are out there? GIS Techs GIS Analysts GIS Managers GIS Programmers Database Administrators Academic (Teachers & Researchers) GIS as a Tool in Engineering, Business, etc.

    9. GIS Analyst What is a GIS Analyst? • You will find most employer's don’t know what a GIS Analyst is. They will ask for someone with 5 years experience, a Masters degree and will pay you $12 an hour. • In addition, they will call it something else such as; Marketing Analyst, Disaster Response Analyst, Tax Policy Research Analyst. • Need to look for keywords when applying for a job. A GIS Analyst is someone with many different skill sets. They can be part cartographer, programmer, database administrator (DBA) etc. Ultimately you will use GIS as a tool to do some form of analysis of data. You will need to have some form of programming experience.

    10. GIS Analyst How much money do they make? • Wide range depending on location, duties and skill set • $22k – $45k to start ($32k is average) • Max out at $60k. • Consulting you will typically work 45-80 hours a week and be on salary. If you are with a successful firm, you will work weekends. • Government you will make less money, but you will only work 40 hours a week

    11. GIS Tech What is a GIS Tech? • A GIS Tech is basically a full-time Intern at the start. You will be collecting the data a GIS Analyst will use. • GPS data collection and most all Field Work is typically performed by a GIS Tech. • However, most firms will also expect you to perform Analyst duties at the cost of a GIS Tech. How much money do they make? Wide range depending on location, duties and skill set $20k – $30k to start Max out at $40k.

    12. GIS Programmer What is a GIS Programmer? A GIS Programmer is the most in demand GIS position out there. He/She typically is a Computer Science major with an interest in cartography, geography and web-based technologies. A dual major CSE/Geography can be assured of his/her pick of a good job upon graduation. How much money do they make? Wide range depending on location, duties and skill set $65k to start. Should hit 6 figures quickly depending on how many hours they are willing to put in. Rarely find programmers in Government because the pay is so low.

    13. GIS Manager What is a GIS Manager? • A GIS Manager is in charge of the day to day GIS operations for a firm. They are part Project Manager, Tech, Analyst, Programmer, DBA, network administrator, etc. • Typically after 5+ years of being a Tech, Analyst, Programmer, etc. you move into a management position. • Once you move into Management you typically quit performing technical duties, and move towards managing people and projects.

    14. GIS Manager How much money do they make? Wide range depending on location, duties and skill set ~ $50k to start In WNY, Government tops off around $65k, Consulting $80k+ Consulting you will typically work 50-80 hours a week and be on salary. If you are with a successful firm, you will work weekends. Government you will make less money, but you will only work 40 hours a week

    15. GIS as a Tool in… GIS is used a lot in Engineering, Business, Tax, Planning, etc. GIS *is* moving away from a career as a GIS Analyst, Manager, etc. and into a tool such as CAD, Spreadsheets and Word Processing software. Need GIS experience on your resume. • How to get it? Internships, Classwork People with GIS experience are going to get preference over those without for GIS jobs.

    16. GIS Instructor/Professor/Teacher How much money do they make? • Not much at first. • $2,000 to teach a summer class • $3,700 to teach a class during the school year. • TA stipend is around $20,000/year. IGERT is around $30,000/year • $40k-$60k to start on a path towards tenure Need to decide if you want to work at a teaching or research university

    17. How to Find a GIS Job Where to look? Locally Newspaper? Email lists/RSS feeds Nationally Conferences Social Media Twitter – gjc has a twitter feed http://www.gjc.org/map.html Facebook/LinkedIn AAG/ASPRS Networking, Networking, Networking There are UB alumni all over the US

    18. NetworkingTwitter • What is Twitter? • 140 Character Msg’s • Have Following & Followers • Keywords

    19. NetworkingTwitter Why use Twitter? • Problem Solving • Ask questions of your followers • Searchable • Networking • Announcements in real-time • Jobs, Events, News

    20. NetworkingTwitter

    21. NetworkingFacebook

    22. NetworkingLinkedIn

    23. NetworkingPersonal Webpage

    24. GIS Jobs Websites • http://www.gjc.org/ • http://www.usajobs.gov/ • http://www.idealist.org/ • http://www.cyber-sierra.com/nrjobs/ • http://giscareers.com/ • http://www.gisjobs.com/ • http://www.dice.com • http://www.indeed.com • http://www.linkedin.com • http://www.monster.com (temp jobs)

    25. Certifications • - ESRI Technical Certifications • - ASPRS (remote sensing) • GISP • Others?

    26. How to Find a GIS Job Do’s and Don'ts: • Don’t misspell anyone’s name in email or cover letter • Don’t apply for another job and send that application to the job your applying for • Don’t cut and paste into your resume or cover letter in a different font than the one you’re using • Don’t harass anyone

    27. How to Find a GIS Job Do’s and Don’ts From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:xxxxxxxx@buffalo.edu] Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 11:53 AM To: xxxxxx, xxxxx Subject: GIS Internship xxxxxxxxxxx, GISP, Is this some sort of joke you cheap bastard, July 24, 2009 minimum wage increases to $7.25 an hour. Mighty Taco pays $10 - $12 an hour starting and you get free tacos. Why do local municipalities seem to think they can get top quality work for bottom dollar prices? You’re a Senior GIS Analyst do you really expect someone to do this mind numbing work $7.63 an hour? http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/flsa/ Department of Labor Website http://www.mightytaco.com/jobs.html Mighty Taco Jobs Website Sincerely, xxxxxxx x. xxxxxxx, xxx x xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    28. How to Find a GIS Job Do’s and Don'ts: • Don’t show up unannounced • Don’t call if they don’t offer a phone number • Don’t ask for help in finding housing • Don’t play politics if you want your immediate boss to want you gone before you start. • Don’t assume your going to be doing GIS tasks if you’re hired “If you do shitty tasks well and without attitude, someone will give you better stuff to do” - Garry Dell’Abate -They Call Me Baba Booey (2010)

    29. How to Find a GIS Job Do’s and Don'ts: Do send a thank you email or note after your interview. It’s not required, but it’s a nice touch. Do email after a week. However, if you haven’t heard within a week; odds are you didn’t get the job. It’s acceptable to ask if there are any unpaid opportunities. UB business cards are great to hand out. You need to learn how to market yourself.

    30. How to Find a GIS Job Networking Networking is the #1 way to find any job. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Attend local GIS user group meetings. Attend as many conferences as you can afford, and when you’re there talk to everyone and bring resumes.

    31. How to Find a GIS Job I’ve got my Bachelors…now what? UB Grad School? • GPA > 3.0 • GRE’s > 1000 • 3 letters of recommendation, advisor support • MA Project vs. MA Portfolio vs. MS …..vs. PhD Grad School elsewhere? Do I take time off, and then go back? Find a job in WNY? Find a job in US?

    32. How to Find a GIS Job Cover letter: Every resume should have an attached cover letter. The purpose of the cover letter is to tell a little bit about yourself, and to highlight your skills on the resume. Create a custom cover letter for every job you are applying for and SAVE THEM. No specific right way to create a cover letter. http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Cover-Letter

    33. How to Find a GIS Job Cover letter: Every resume should have an attached cover letter The purpose of the cover letter is to tell a little bit about yourself, and to highlight your skills on the resume Create a custom cover letter for every job you are applying for and SAVE THEM Your cover letter should contain a reference to your webpage/blog/podcast/social media outlet No specific right way to create a cover letter http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Cover-Letter

    34. How to Find a GIS Job Resumes: What is the difference between a CV and a resume? Your resume should be current and contain zero errors Resume should be 1 page. Once you start applying to academic jobs or management, then it’s acceptable to have more. No one specific right way to create a resume. Put resume and cover letter on good paper Have a .txt version of resume for online app.

    35. How to Find a GIS Job Paid Internships They do exist, but they are rare in WNY. Can find them in Government & Consulting Pay: Minimum wage to $15/hour More for programming interns You need to apply to get a job

    36. How to Find a GIS Job Unpaid Internships: The easiest way to get experience. Do small projects for local firms, and the experience can be added to your resume. The only way you’re going to hear about them is to attend job fairs with GIS representation, and local GIS user group meetings. Erie County offers unpaid internships.

    37. How to Find a GIS Job Class Credit/Geog Internships GEO496/742 They do exist, and it’s an easy 3 credit hour A. GIS experience for your resume However, you have to find a job that will employ you for 10 weeks, and have an advisor that will sign off on it. Hard to find both.

    38. GIS Jobs How to Get a GIS Job? • Have a Resume and Cover Letter prepared • Take the time to review your resume, cover letter for each job you are applying to (spelling!) • Make sure you review where you are applying to • Career Planning and Placement, Friends, Faculty • Apply to all local jobs, and attend every interview for practice • Make sure you know what is on your resume • Internships are required to get a good first job • You will do Intern work at an internship!

    39. GIS Jobs How to Get a GIS Job? • Network, Network, Network • Attend GIS events • Volunteer • Did I mention Networking? • Networking is your best chance to get a job. Posting your resume to online websites is hit and miss • Networking will let you know where the jobs are. • It’s all about “Who you know” • Your odds of finding a local GIS job are slim to none. Be prepared to move to DC, Boston or out West to find one

    40. GIS Jobs Hints from my ex-interns: • Do the research about the position and organization before the interview. (A big first interview question for me is, "have you seen our website?" or "do you know are mission?" It important to not only show interest in the job but also the organization and maybe even the people that are interviewing you. Interest goes a long way in an interview.) • Keep a log or database of all the jobs you apply for and print out job descriptions. (Because I don't how many times I apply for a job and seven weeks later they want an interview, and by then I forgot which job I applied for. Especially jobs for big organizations like the Federal gov't where there are multiple vacancies you may apply for over time.) - G. Schmidbauer UB ’05

    41. Discussion/Recommendations • What can you do as UB Geography students? • Think of taking a bunch of Computer Science/Programming courses if you plan on working with GIS outside of UB. • Problem is, there aren’t many at UB or ECC. I’ve taken CSE503 . It’s an intro to Java class. There’s the ArcObjects seminar, and GEO695? as well. • Need to learn on your own, or find an internship where you can learn on the job • UB doesn’t offer .NET or VB classes. • This is “sorta” good because .NET and VB are being phased out for REST technologies such as Flex and Silverlight by ESRI. • Programming is where the jobs are • Plan to move. Government jobs in DC are the best place right now. • Update your resume and make sure there are no mistakes • Have a supply of cover letters to apply for different jobs • Attend a resume critiquing seminar (before ESRI interviews in January/February). Or use UB’s career planning & placement office

    42. Discussion/Recommendations • What can you do as UB students? • Stay updated on changing technology • Watch the New York State, NEARC & UB Geography email list for information on internships, and user group meeting info • Network, Network, Network! • Attend as many conferences as you can afford. • Show initiative and create your own Geography Blog/Podcast, or if you have programming skills, look into creating a Google/Yahoo Mashup (great marketing tool on job interviews!). Nobody else is doing it. You should do something to stick out from the crowd.

    43. How to Find a GIS Job If you are interested in an unpaid internship… My department will have 1 position available starting in 2012 • 2-8 hours a week. • 4-10 weeks in duration • Will be project driven. • Can be used for a 3 credit hour class credit in the Spring if your advisor signs off on it.

    44. How to Find a GIS Job ESRI Interviews in January/February 2012 Apply! Interview! It’s great practice for later. Spring Career Fair – Coming early 2012 Bring a stack of resumes, and see what’s out there.

    45. How to Find a GIS Job A couple weeks before the ESRI interviews I hold two (2) Resume/Cover Letter critique sessions in the department. Few people show up at these sessions. MUP’s, Engineers and Computer Science students are typical attendees. But every year one of those that do attend have been hired by ESRI.

    46. How to Find a GIS Job Conclusion: You need GIS Experience Paid Internships Unpaid Internships Coursework Programming Experience is preferred Be prepared to move Network! Apply for jobs…you never know.

    47. Thank you. Questions??? swr@buffalo.edu russells@erie.gov